02/10/2012 06:43 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2012

Michelle Obama And Mentors: A Family Dinner Table Talk

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

Ever since Michelle Obama became the First Lady of the United States, she's been a champion for youth. Her programs to fight obesity and help kids become more socially engaged have notably changed lives, but one of her lesser-known projects is her most personal -- the White House mentoring program.

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, a low-income neighborhood, and only attending public schools, Obama realized "how much I didn't see, how little exposure I had to opportunities." She wanted teenage girls to be confident in their abilities and have access to people who could inspire them to pursue whatever career path they chose. To achieve that, she has paired 20 high school students with female mentors in the president’s office. Obama said she wanted the teens to get comfortable walking into the White House and talking to people in power so the girls could speak up in that space without fear.

Obama’s own mentor during her college years was a passionate, professional woman who cared about community service. See the resemblance? That’s what true mentorship does. The leaders of today empower and encourage the leaders of tomorrow to become like them -- or even go beyond. So to celebrate the mentors in our lives who make us believe anything is possible, let’s talk about all they do at tonight’s family table.

Questions for discussion:
  • Do you have a mentor? If not, who would you want it to be?
  • What kinds of things would you want to talk about with a mentor?
  • If you were a mentor to someone else, what advice would you give?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from The Sneaky Chef: Speedy Stovetop Lasagna.


In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (